Colorado educators to join community protest against DeVos' ALEC speech

Hundreds of Coloradans concerned by the corporate education agenda pushed by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will protest her visit to Denver, Wednesday, July 19. DeVos is scheduled to speak at the annual meeting of ALEC at the Hyatt Regency (650 15th Street).

Member educators of the Colorado Education Association will join with other labor partners and public education supporters to reclaim our schools from the DeVos–ALEC corporate education agenda. The protest will start at 10:00 a.m. on the west steps of the State Capitol. After a short rally, the protestors will march to the Hyatt Regency and conclude the rally about 11:30 a.m.

Rally supporters will reject dangerous ideas promoted by DeVos and ALEC that do not support students and seek to dismantle the promise of public education. Scheduled speakers at the Capitol and the hotel include:

•           Rachael Lehman, mistress of ceremonies

•           Tay Anderson, candidate for Denver Public Schools Board of Education

•           Eric Troe, parent activist

•           Rep. Joseph Salazar, candidate for Attorney General

•           JoZi Martinez, DPS teacher and activist

•           Sen. Andy Kerr, candidate for Congressional District 7

•           Andrea Leggett, DPS teacher and CEA and Denver Classroom Teachers Association representative

•           Tim Kurg, parent activist

•           Madison Carr, student

•           Rhiannon Wenning, Jeffco teacher and CEA representative

•           Britney O’Donnell, student

•           H-Soul, teacher and activist

•           John Ford, president of the Jefferson County Education Association

“Betsy DeVos will be in town plotting with ALEC to dismantle public institutions that support opportunity for Colorado students, educators and families,” said Christina Medina, a DCTA member-teacher at Academia Sandoval. She also sits on the CEA Board of Directors as chair of CEA’s Equity Council on Race and Culture. “The policies championed by DeVos have a negative impact on all students, but are especially harmful to students living in poverty and students of color.”

Medina added educators need to be the ones who influence policy and have the ear of government officials, not the profit seekers in ALEC. “Our Secretary of Education should be someone who will advocate for students with great needs in marginalized communities, not someone who schemes with wealthy corporations to benefit the chosen few and while expecting the rest of us to take what we’re given. We are a large community against school privatization and our voice will be heard Wednesday.”

What is ALEC? Led by corporate lobbyists and corporate-friendly politicians, the “American Legislative Exchange Council” introduces model bills into state legislatures across the country which relax environmental regulations, produce stricter voter identification laws, strip power from labor unions, loosen gun laws, and divert public tax dollars to private schools through vouchers and other schemes. ALEC pushes a corporate agenda that benefits those at the very top, while suppressing those in the middle and lower class, and people of color.